Paul Reed Smith playing one of his guitars at the annual Guitar Festival, Dallas, Texas.
This article is about Paul Reed Smith, a luthier. For the article about the company that bears his name, see PRS Guitars.
Paul Reed Smith (born February 18, 1956), is a luthier and the founder and owner of PRS Guitars.
Smith graduated from Bowie High School in 1974. He made his first guitar while at St. Mary's College of Maryland, and continued to build guitars after he finished college, making them one at a time, one a month. Together with another local, John "Orkie" Ingram, they formed the nucleus of what would become Paul Reed Smith Guitars.
Smith would often bring his guitars backstage at concerts, and eventually got his break when Derek St. Holmes, of the Ted Nugent Band, agreed to try out #2, the second guitar Smith had ever made. St. Holmes played the guitar for the first few songs of his set, and Smith told him that after he showed it to some other musicians, he would fly out to Detroit and give it to him. St. Holmes eventually sold the guitar for $200.
Smith then contacted Ted McCarty, former president of Gibson and creator of the Explorer, ES-335 and Flying V guitars, and McCarty became his mentor and adviser. The result of their collaboration was the current line of PRS Guitars, which include solid- and hollow-body guitars. The Private Stock line of PRS guitars are made utilizing a vast range of exotic materials including various stones, elaborately figured tone woods, and intricate shells for inlays.
Unlike Ted McCarty and Leo Fender, Paul plays the guitar in his own band, The Paul Reed Smith band.